Remember, LuLu, my pink bike? About three years ago my husband gave her to me for my sixtieth birthday. He wanted to get me an iPad. I asked for a bike instead. Since Gary’s death I haven’t had the heart to ride her much. This summer was a hard one. I barely rode LuLu. I didn’t water my flowerbeds not even once (thank goodness we had a lot of rain). My potting shed became a catch-all of random tools and extension cords and what-not. Sadly I didn’t plant one new flower. These were things I loved to do. Mourning takes so much energy and causes a thousand little deaths.
But, here’s the deal: This morning I decided I’m going to act myself into a better way of feeling. Gary and I subscribed to that philosophy throughout our life together. Just because you don’t feel like doing something, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. Okay, I’m sad. I may be sad forever. But I’ve decided it’s time not to act sad. If I act like I’m not sad, by playing with my grandchildren, taking my pup, Atticus, for a walk, or riding my pink bike, then one day, just maybe, possibly, I’ll wake one morning and actually not be sad. See, act yourself into a bettering way of feeling.
My Bible reading this morning was Psalms 3:3 I should quit being surprised when I randomly turn to a passage and it seems like it was written that morning just for me.
“But You, O, Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. I cried aloud to the Lord, and He answered me from His Holy Place. I laid down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me. I will not be afraid...”
Mourning has a component of fear to it. When you lose someone you love, you fear you will never feel normal again. You fear you will never smile again. You fear that you will become invisible and eventually become just a smudge on a window. You fear you’ll forget what joy feels like. Yes, there is so much to fear about being left alone without a hand to hold. But you know what? Every night for the last year I’ve gone to sleep and every morning I have awakened unharmed. Mourning has not killed me. It has not run off my children and grandchildren. My friends still surround me. My mom still loves me. A sunrise still takes my breath away.
Okay, it snowed four inches last night, so I guess LuLu will have to snuggle up in the garage for a little while yet. And, I don’t feel like turkey, dressing and pumpkin pie, or remembering what all I should be thankful for. But, I’m going to do it anyway. I’m going to bake a pie, smash some potatoes, make cranberry sauce and as we watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, I am going to teach my granddaughters how to make napkin rings for our Thanksgiving table. And one day, hopefully, sooner than later, I’ll enjoy those things again.
“I cried aloud... and He answered me... He sustained me. I will not be afraid...”
I will act grateful.
Happy Thanksgiving, dear ones.